Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Monday, September 21, 1998 Published at 12:00 GMT 13:00 UK

Education: Features

Book your place

Children will be encouraged to read more widely

By BBC News Online's Adrian Dalingwater

A high-profile campaign designed to transform Britain's attitude to reading has begun.

The National Year of Reading, which is set to run throughout the current school year, will promote the written word in all its forms.

A key plank of the government's drive to improve standards of literacy, it aims to encourage children and young people to read more regularly and to use a wider variety of material, including fiction and non-fiction books, magazines, newspapers and CD-roms.

The government wants to see 80% of all 11-year-olds in England reaching the standards expected of their age in English by the year 2002. Around 60% reach that target at the moment.

Ministers say teachers alone cannot raise children's literacy standards to the necessary levels, hence the need for a national campaign.

[ image: Aimed at avid readers and those who rarely read at all]
Aimed at avid readers and those who rarely read at all
Parents will be encouraged to read more with their children, and organisations including book publishers, libraries, the media and local authorities will promote increased reading.

Television programmes, including the BBC soap opera Eastenders, have agreed to run plot lines to get the message across.

The campaign also aims to highlight the position of people who do not find it easy to read, including those with learning difficulties or disabilities, and provide them with more opportunities to access written material.

Many other parts of the government's national literacy strategy will begin during the next school year.

These include a dedicated hour for literacy in every primary school in England and the intensive training of primary teachers in the teaching of reading and writing.

The Education Secretary, David Blunkett, says the National Year of Reading is aimed at children and parents, avid readers and those who rarely read at all.

"To turn the page of a book is to open a window on the world," he said.

"Books are the foundation on which other learning can be built. Learning to read is one of the most liberating things we can ever do."

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Features Contents

Mike Baker
Relevant Stories

16 Sep 98 | Education
Stars back reading drive

Internet Links

National Year of Reading

Department for Education - National Year of Reading

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Setting research papers free

Numeracy strategy survival tips

What adults are supposed to know